Medical admissions: Bombay HC upholds requirement of domicile
Bombay high court (HC) has upheld requirements for Maharashtra domicile and passing of Class 10 and Class 12 examinations from the state for admission to medical and dental courses from 85℅ state quota seats in private unaided medical and dental colleges.
A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni on March 9 dismissed a bunch of petitions, including one filed by the Association of Managements of Unaided Private Medical and Dental Colleges.
The petitioners had challenged the validity of two clauses of the Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Educational Institutions (regulation of admissions to the full-time professional undergraduate medical and dental courses) Rules, 2016, one of which mandated requirement of Maharashtra domicile and the other passing of Class 10 and Class 12 examinations from an institute in the state.
The petitioners mainly contended that the two rules violated fundamental rights guaranteed to the private unaided institutes under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India. Their counsel, advocate VM Thorat had submitted that the object of the state to provide appropriate and necessary medical and healthcare facilities should not be confined to narrow considerations of giving eminence to domicile.
Private medical colleges which run without receiving a single penny from the State should not be made to suffer the rigours of State control. Requiring private medical colleges to adhere to domicile was per se bad in law.
The state control should be limited to maintain educational standards by introducing qualification for teachers, curriculum and syllabi for the courses, etc. and to hold common entrance test for ensuring merit-based selection followed by a centralised admission process.
Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had responded to the petitions, on behalf of the state, that the statutory rules under challenge were neither manifestly arbitrary nor did they offend the parent law. He pointed out that the law on the topic was very well-settled that the reasonableness of a restriction on a fundamental right must be determined in an objective manner and from the standpoint of the interests of the general public and not from the point of view of the persons upon whom the restrictions are imposed. Therefore, the private interests of the medical colleges have to yield to the larger public interest, which is the soul of Article 19(6).
HC accepted Kumbhakoni’s submissions. The bench noted that Article 19(6) authorises restriction to be imposed on the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g), inter alia, in the interests of the general public. The bench said the restriction - eligibility requirements for 85℅ state quota seats - imposed on such a right was in the interest of the general public and in tune with clause (6) of Article 19.
“Such restriction was imposed keeping in mind the local and regional needs,” said the bench, adding that several states like Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have reserved 85% seats for being filled up by students having state domicile or permanent residence in the respective states.